On the occasion of yesterday evening’s meeting between Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and the Israeli President Reuven Rivlin a Federal Foreign Office Spokesperson issued the following statement today (17 March):
The Federal Foreign Office will provide the Association of Israelis of Central European Origin with one million euro in additional funding to help maintain the Museum of German‑Speaking Jewry, or Yekke Museum, and help finance its move to the University of Haifa.
The Federal Foreign Office previously pledged 200,000 euro to the Association as part of its funding for various projects abroad relating to the anniversary year “1700 years of Jewish life in Germany”. This sum was earmarked to help move the museum from its existing premises and store its artefacts, archive materials and artworks in suitable conditions during the move. The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) is also supporting the project by financing an academic assistant position.
The new funding should now make it possible to secure the museum’s long‑term existence. It is also hoped that this gesture will encourage other sponsors in Germany and Israel to commit to the project.
The Yekke Museum in northern Israel documents the lives of the country’s German‑speaking immigrants, who mostly arrived in the 1930s fleeing persecution in Nazi Germany and who played a key role in building the State of Israel. At the same time, the Yekkes maintained many German Jewish traditions in their new homeland after the end of the Holocaust and maintain ties to Germany until today. Thus, in the eyes of the Federal Foreign Office, they continue to play an important role in building bridges between Germany and Israel.
The museum now has to leave its current premises in Tefen and plans to reopen as part of the Hecht Museum at the University of Haifa. With the Haifa Center for German and European Studies also located at the university, future visitors as well as researchers will enjoy even greater access to the history of the Yekkes.